My server setup and a drive config question RRS feed

  • Question

  • I got my WHS beta yesterday and got the server set up last night.  So far, so good...though from reading the forum, it seems that people are looking for this product to offer far more than I think it is intended to do.

    First, my hardware setup:

    • Silverstone LC-11 case (HTPC, microatx, external optical slot and 3 internal 3.5" drive bays.  Fits great on a 19" rack shelf!)
    • Aopen i855GMEm-LFS microatx motherboard.  Socket 479, AGP, 3 PCI, onboard video, dual Marvell Gigabit ethernet, 8x USB2, Onboard Silicon Image SATA (2 ports)
    • 1.4GHz Pentium-M (400MHz FSB, 1MB cache)
    • 1GB Crucial PC2700 (2x512)
    • 160GB Seagate IDE drive
    • Dell Gigabit managed switch
    • Verizon FIOS 15/2

    Performance is actually really good.  The reason I settled on this config (I was running FreeNAS before) is because of the very low power draw of the CPU and the rest of the components.  I have the CPU undervolted to 1.05V and it's completely stable.  Not only that, but the BIOS controlled fans don't even come on...the PSU fan is the only one that really ever runs.  Nice motherboard, but not really available anywhere other than eBay since it's an older model.  However, Aopen has a number of newer Socket 479 motherboards available that use the i915 and i945 chipset.  All told, this cost me about $300, but I already had the hard drive and optical drive.

    Now, my drive configuration question.  I am going to replace the 160GB boot drive with the biggest IDE drive that I can find (400 or 500GB, probably) and then add a couple of similarly sized SATA drives to fill my two remaining hard drive bays.  My gut instinct for a file server is to run RAID1 (or RAID5) for fault tolerance.  However, in reading the help docs, it seems that "folder duplication" provides some sort of software fault tolerance, which makes me think that the way to go for me would be to just add the drives that I want and then enable folder duplication.  Is that the correct approach to take?

    The followup question to this is, if I have, for example, (2) 500GB drives, both with folder duplicaiton enable, and let's say I have 200GB of data in folders assigned to each drive, would that mean that each of those drives are essentially full because of folder duplication?



    Sunday, March 4, 2007 4:24 AM

All replies

  • Welcome to the beta program! I encourage you to read all the documentation available; there's a lot of useful information there.

    Drive configuration: Microsoft will say that "RAID is not a supported configuration". In addition, consumer-grade RAID never really comes close to meeting it's promised performance numbers. Finally, if you read the documentation, it's really quite clear that the primary intended audience for WHS is a technically unsophisticated one. Therefore, the intended way to deal with added storage is to just add disks as you need them.

    You don't allocate folders to drives in WHS. What you do is add drives to the storage pool, which is managed by the Drive Extender technology. Drive Extender will decide where each file will go, and it balances drives in the background to spread files out among all the drives in the system (except the system drive, if you have at least three drives). Warning: you should never try to manipulate files in the file system on your WHS. Do everything through the network shares. Even if you log in to the WHS through Remote Desktop, don't try to do anything in the file system on the D: drive (which is where Drive Extender starts working it's magic). There's a shortcut to the network shares on your desktop; use that instead.

    Folder Duplication is a feature that adds fault tolerance. Shares (not drives) that are marked for duplication will have copies of all the files and folders they contain on two drives in your system. You probably wouldn't mark your media folders for duplication; they're always huge, and (painful as it is to have to do it) if they go away, you still have the disks from which you ripped the files. (You do own all those CDs, right? )

    Since duplication operates at a share level, you're only giving up as much space to duplication as is marked for it. So if everything is marked for duplication, then yes, every byte you put on the WHS consumes two bytes of disk space
    Sunday, March 4, 2007 5:01 AM
  • Thanks for the answers, Ken.  I had read through most of the documentation, but didn't see a clear answer on the capacity requirements when running duplication.
    Sunday, March 4, 2007 2:32 PM